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AP Croft, JN Khan, MV Chittari, C Varma
Journal Issue: 
Volume 42: Issue 3: 2012



Paradoxical coronary artery embolism is a rare but under-diagnosed cause of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and requires a high level of clinical suspicion to make an early diagnosis. We describe the case of a young woman who presented with a severe cough and chest pain who was subsequently found to have a paradoxical embolus in the right coronary artery. Echocardiography showed a patent foramen ovale (PFO) and an atrial septal aneurysm (ASA). The patient was found to be a heterozygous carrier of the factor V Leiden mutation that increases the risk for venous-thromboembolism. The association between a PFO and an ASA is a risk factor for systemic embolisation. This is the first reported case of paradoxical coronary artery embolus causing AMI in a non-pregnant patient with factor Leiden thrombophilia. Identification of this clinical phenotype is vital as the risk of future embolic events can be reduced by anticoagulation and closure of anatomical cardiac defects.